Chess | Wikipedia audio article

Chess | Wikipedia audio article


Chess is a two-player strategy board game
played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played
by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game
chaturanga sometime before the 7th century. Chaturanga is also the likely ancestor of
the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th
century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in
Spain in the late 15th century; the modern rules were standardized in the 19th century.
Play involves no hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one
queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each piece type moves differently,
with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective
is to checkmate the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture.
To this end, a player’s pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces,
while supporting each other. During the game, play typically involves exchanging pieces
for the opponent’s similar pieces, and finding and engineering opportunities to trade advantageously
or to get a better position. In addition to checkmate, a player wins the game if the opponent
resigns, or (in a timed game) runs out of time. There are also several ways that a game
can end in a draw. The first generally recognized World Chess
Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship
has been regulated by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the game’s international
governing body. FIDE also awards life-time master titles to skilled players, the highest
of which is Grandmaster (GM). Many national chess organizations have a title system of
their own. FIDE also organizes the Women’s World Championship, the World Junior Championship,
the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad,
a popular competition among international teams. FIDE is a member of the International
Olympic Committee, which can be considered as a recognition of chess as a sport. Several
national sporting bodies (e.g. the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes) also recognize
chess as a sport. Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. There is also a
Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online
chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of
players. Since the second half of the 20th century,
chess engines have been programmed to play with increasing success, to the point where
the strongest programs play at a higher level than the best human players. Since the 1990s,
computer analysis has contributed significantly to chess theory, particularly in the endgame.
The IBM computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion
in a match when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997. The rise of strong chess engines
runnable on hand-held devices has led to increasing concerns about cheating during tournaments.
There are many variants of chess that utilize different rules, pieces, or boards. One of
these, Chess960, has gained widespread popularity as well as some FIDE recognition.==Rules==The rules of chess are published by FIDE (Fédération
Internationale des Échecs), chess’s international governing body, in its Handbook. Rules published
by national governing bodies, or by unaffiliated chess organizations, commercial publishers,
etc., may differ. FIDE’s rules were most recently revised in 2017.===Setup===By convention, chess game pieces are divided
into white and black sets. Each set consists of 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks,
two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The pieces are set out as shown in the diagram
and photo. The players of the sets are referred to as White and Black, respectively.
The game is played on a square board of eight rows (called ranks, denoted 1 to 8 from bottom
to top according to White’s perspective) and eight columns (called files, denoted a to
h from left to right according to White’s perspective). The 64 squares alternate in
color and are referred to as light and dark squares. The chessboard is placed with a light
square at the right-hand end of the rank nearest to each player. Thus, each queen starts on
a square of its own color (the white queen on a light square; the black queen on a dark
square).===Movement===
In competitive games, the colors are allocated by the organizers; in informal games, the
colors are usually decided randomly, for example by coin toss, or by one player’s concealing
a white and black pawn in either hand and having the opponent choose. The player with
the white pieces moves first, after which players alternate turns, moving one piece
per turn (except for castling, when two pieces are moved). A piece is moved to either an
unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent’s piece, which is captured and removed from
play. With the sole exception of en passant, all pieces capture by moving to the square
that the opponent’s piece occupies. Moving is compulsory; it is illegal to skip
a turn, even when having to move is detrimental. A player may not make any move that would
put or leave the player’s own king in check. If the player to move has no legal move, the
game is over; the result is either checkmate (a loss for the player with no legal move)
if the king is in check, or stalemate (a draw) if the king is not.
Each piece has its own way of moving. In the diagrams, the dots mark the squares to which
the piece can move if there are no intervening piece(s) of either color (except the knight,
which leaps over any intervening pieces). The king moves one square in any direction.
The king also has a special move called castling that involves also moving a rook.
A rook can move any number of squares along a rank or file, but cannot leap over other
pieces. Along with the king, a rook is involved during the king’s castling move.
A bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, but cannot leap over other pieces.
The queen combines the power of a rook and bishop and can move any number of squares
along a rank, file, or diagonal, but cannot leap over other pieces.
A knight moves to any of the closest squares that are not on the same rank, file, or diagonal.
(Thus the move forms an “L”-shape: two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or
two squares horizontally and one square vertically.) The knight is the only piece that can leap
over other pieces. A pawn can move forward to the unoccupied
square immediately in front of it on the same file, or on its first move it can advance
two squares along the same file, provided both squares are unoccupied (black dots in
the diagram); or the pawn can capture an opponent’s piece on a square diagonally in front of it
on an adjacent file, by moving to that square (black “x”s). A pawn has two special moves:
the en passant capture and promotion.===Castling===Once in every game, each king can make a special
move, known as castling. Castling consists of moving the king two squares along the first
rank toward a rook (that is on the player’s first rank and then placing the rook on the
last square that the king just crossed. Castling is permissible if the following conditions
are met: Neither the king nor the rook have previously
moved during the game. There are no pieces between the king and the
rook. The king cannot be in check, nor can the king
pass through any square that is under attack by an enemy piece, or move to a square that
would result in check. (Note that castling is permitted if the rook is under attack,
or if the rook crosses an attacked square.)===En passant===When a pawn makes a two-step advance from
its starting position and there is an opponent’s pawn on a square next to the destination square
on an adjacent file, then the opponent’s pawn can capture it en passant (“in passing”),
moving to the square the pawn passed over. This can only be done on the very next turn,
otherwise the right to do so is forfeited. For example, in the animated diagram, the
black pawn advances two steps from g7 to g5, and the white pawn on f5 can take it en passant
on g6 (but only on White’s next move).===Promotion===When a pawn advances to the eighth rank, as
a part of the move it is promoted and must be exchanged for the player’s choice of queen,
rook, bishop, or knight of the same color. Usually, the pawn is chosen to be promoted
to a queen, but in some cases another piece is chosen; this is called underpromotion.
In the animated diagram, the pawn on c7 can be advanced to the eighth rank and be promoted.
There is no restriction placed on the piece promoted to, so it is possible to have more
pieces of the same type than at the start of the game (e.g., two or more queens).===Check===When a king is under immediate attack by one
or two of the opponent’s pieces, it is said to be in check. A move in response to a check
is legal only if it results in a position where the king is no longer in check. This
can involve capturing the checking piece; interposing a piece between the checking piece
and the king (which is possible only if the attacking piece is a queen, rook, or bishop
and there is a square between it and the king); or moving the king to a square where it is
not under attack. Castling is not a permissible response to a check.
The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent; this occurs when the opponent’s
king is in check, and there is no legal way to remove it from attack. It is never legal
for a player to make a move that puts or leaves the player’s own king in check. In casual
games it is common to announce “check” when putting the opponent’s king in check, but
this is not required by the rules of chess, and is not usually done in tournaments.===End of the game=======
Win====Games can be won in the following ways: Checkmate: The player whose turn it is to
move is in check and has no legal move to escape check.
Resignation: Either player may resign, conceding the game to the opponent. It is usually considered
poor etiquette to play on in a hopeless position, and for this reason high-level games rarely
end in checkmate. Win on time: In games with a time control,
a player wins if the opponent runs out of time, even if the opponent has a superior
position, as long as the player has a theoretical possibility to checkmate the opponent.
Forfeit: A player who cheats, violates the rules, or violates the rules specified for
the particular tournament, can be forfeited. In high-level tournaments, players have been
forfeited for such things as: arriving late for the game (even by a matter
of seconds); receiving a call or text on a cell phone;
refusing to undergo a drug test; refusing to undergo a body search for electronic
devices; unsporting behavior (e.g. refusing to shake
hands with the opponent).====Draw====There are several ways games can end in a
draw: Draw by agreement: Draws are most commonly
reached by mutual agreement between the players. The correct procedure is to verbally offer
the draw, make a move, then start the opponent’s clock. Traditionally, players have been allowed
to agree to a draw at any point in the game, occasionally even without playing a move;
in recent years efforts have been made to discourage short draws, for example by forbidding
draw offers before move thirty. Stalemate: The player whose turn it is to
move has no legal move and is not in check. Threefold repetition of position: This most
commonly occurs when neither side is able to avoid repeating moves without incurring
a disadvantage. In this situation, either player can claim a draw; this requires the
players to keep a valid written record of the game so that the claim can be verified
by the arbiter if challenged. The three occurrences of the position need not occur on consecutive
moves for a claim to be valid. FIDE rules make no mention of perpetual check; this is
merely a specific type of draw by threefold repetition.
Fifty-move rule: If during the previous 50 moves no pawn has been moved and no capture
has been made, either player can claim a draw. There are several known endgames where it
is possible to force a mate but it requires more than 50 moves before a pawn move or capture
is made; examples include some endgames with two knights against a pawn and some pawnless
endgames such as queen against two bishops. Historically, FIDE has sometimes revised the
50-move rule to make exceptions for these endgames, but these have since been repealed.
Some correspondence chess organizations do not enforce the fifty-move rule.
Fivefold repetition of position: Similar to the threefold-repetition rule, but in this
case neither player needs to claim the draw; thus a tournament director can intervene and
declare the game to be drawn. This is a relatively recent (2014) addition to the FIDE rules.
Seventy-five-move rule: Similar to the fifty-move rule; however, if the final move in the sequence
resulted in checkmate, this takes precedence. As with the fivefold-repetition rule, this
applies independently of claims by the players, and allows a tournament director to intervene.
This rule likewise is a recent addition to the FIDE rules.
Insufficient material: If neither player has a theoretical possibility to checkmate the
opponent; for example, if a player has only the king and a knight left, and the opponent
has only the king left, checkmate is impossible and the game is drawn by this rule. On the
other hand, if both players have a king and a knight left, there is a highly unlikely
yet theoretical possibility of checkmate, so this rule does not apply.
Draw on time: In games with a time control, the game is drawn if a player is out of time
and the opponent has no theoretical possibility to checkmate the player.===Time control===In competition, chess games are played with
a time control. If a player’s time runs out before the game is completed, the game is
automatically lost (provided the opponent has enough pieces left to deliver checkmate).
The duration of a game ranges from long (or “classical”) games which can take up to seven
hours (even longer if adjournments are permitted) to bullet chess (under 3 minutes per player
for the entire game). Intermediate between these are rapid chess games, lasting between
20 minutes and two hours per game, a popular time control in amateur weekend tournaments.
Time is controlled using a chess clock that has two displays, one for each player’s remaining
time. Analog chess clocks have been largely replaced by digital clocks, which allow for
time controls with increments. Time controls are also enforced in correspondence
chess competition. A typical time control is 50 days for every 10 moves.==History=====
Predecessors===Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern
India, c. 280–550, in the Gupta Empire, where its early form in the 6th century was
known as chaturaṅga (Sanskrit: चतुरङ्ग), literally four divisions [of the military]
– infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve
into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Thence it spread eastward
and westward along the Silk Road. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the nearby Sassanid
Persia around 600, where the game came to be known by the name chatrang. Chatrang was
taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia (633–44), where it was
then named shatranj, with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish
“shatranj” was rendered as ajedrez (“al-shatranj”), in Portuguese as xadrez, and in Greek as ζατρίκιον
(zatrikion, which comes directly from the Persian chatrang), but in the rest of Europe
it was replaced by versions of the Persian shāh (“king”), which was familiar as an exclamation
and became the English words “check” and “chess”.The oldest archaeological chess artifacts, ivory
pieces, were excavated in ancient Afrasiab, today’s Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, central
Asia, and date to about 760, with some of them possibly older. The oldest known chess
manual was in Arabic and dates to 840–850, written by al-Adli ar-Rumi (800–870), a
renowned Arab chess player, titled Kitab ash-shatranj (Book of the chess). This is a lost manuscript,
but referenced in later works. The eastern migration of chess, into China and Southeast
Asia, has even less documentation than its migration west. The first reference to chess,
called Xiang Qi, in China comes in the xuán guaì lù (玄怪录, record of the mysterious
and strange) dating to about 800. Alternatively, some contend that chess arose from Chinese
chess or one of its predecessors, although this has been contested.The game reached Western
Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By
the year 1000, it had spread throughout both Muslim Iberia and Latin Europe. A Latin poem
de scachis dated to the late 10th century has been preserved in Einsiedeln Abbey. A
famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon, and dice is known as the Libro
de los juegos.===1200–1700: Origins of the modern game
===Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started
to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game
essentially as it is known today. These modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted
in Italy and Spain. Pawns gained the option of advancing two squares
on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern abilities. The queen
replaced the earlier vizier chess piece towards the end of the 10th century and by the 15th
century had become the most powerful piece; consequently modern chess was referred to
as “Queen’s Chess” or “Mad Queen Chess”. Castling, derived from the “kings leap” usually in combination
with a pawn or rook move to bring the king to safety, was introduced. These new rules
quickly spread throughout western Europe. Writings about the theory of how to play chess
began to appear in the 15th century. The Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez (Repetition of
Love and the Art of Playing Chess) by Spanish churchman Luis Ramirez de Lucena was published
in Salamanca in 1497. Lucena and later masters like Portuguese Pedro Damiano, Italians Giovanni
Leonardo Di Bona, Giulio Cesare Polerio and Gioachino Greco, and Spanish bishop Ruy López
de Segura developed elements of openings and started to analyze simple endgames.===1700–1873: The Romantic Era in chess
===In the 18th century, the center of European
chess life moved from the Southern European countries to France. The two most important
French masters were François-André Danican Philidor, a musician by profession, who discovered
the importance of pawns for chess strategy, and later Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais,
who won a famous series of matches with the Irish master Alexander McDonnell in 1834.
Centers of chess activity in this period were coffee houses in major European cities like
Café de la Régence in Paris and Simpson’s Divan in London.The rules concerning stalemate
were finalized in the early 19th century. Also in the 19th century, the convention that
White moves first was established (formerly either White or Black could move first). Finally
the rules around castling were standardized – variations in the castling rules had persisted
in Italy until the late 19th century. The resulting standard game is sometimes referred
to as Western chess or international chess, particularly in Asia where other games of
the chess family such as xiangqi are prevalent. Since the 19th century, the only rule changes
have been technical in nature, for example establishing the correct procedure for claiming
a draw by repetition. As the 19th century progressed, chess organization
developed quickly. Many chess clubs, chess books, and chess journals appeared. There
were correspondence matches between cities; for example, the London Chess Club played
against the Edinburgh Chess Club in 1824. Chess problems became a regular part of 19th-century
newspapers; Bernhard Horwitz, Josef Kling, and Samuel Loyd composed some of the most
influential problems. In 1843, von der Lasa published his and Bilguer’s Handbuch des Schachspiels
(Handbook of Chess), the first comprehensive manual of chess theory.
Chess was occasionally criticized in the 19th century as a waste of time. The first modern chess tournament was organized
by Howard Staunton, a leading English chess player, and was held in London in 1851. It
was won by the German Adolf Anderssen, who was hailed as the leading chess master. His
brilliant, energetic attacking style was typical for the time. Sparkling games like Anderssen’s
Immortal Game and Evergreen Game or Morphy’s “Opera Game” were regarded as the highest
possible summit of the chess art.The romantic era was characterized by opening gambits (sacrificing
pawns or even pieces), daring attacks, and brazen sacrifices. Many elaborate and beautiful
but unsound move sequences called “combinations” were played by the masters of the time. The
game was played more for art than theory. A profound belief that chess merit resided
in the players’ genius rather than inherent in the position on the board pervaded chess
practice. Deeper insight into the nature of chess came
with the American Paul Morphy, an extraordinary chess prodigy. Morphy won against all important
competitors (except Staunton, who refused to play), including Anderssen, during his
short chess career between 1857 and 1863. Morphy’s success stemmed from a combination
of brilliant attacks and sound strategy; he intuitively knew how to prepare attacks.===1873–1945: Birth of a sport===
Prague-born Wilhelm Steinitz beginning in 1873 described how to avoid weaknesses in
one’s own position and how to create and exploit such weaknesses in the opponent’s position.
The scientific approach and positional understanding of Steinitz revolutionized the game. Steinitz
was the first to break a position down into its components. Before Steinitz, players brought
their queen out early, did not completely develop their other pieces, and mounted a
quick attack on the opposing king, which either succeeded or failed. The level of defense
was poor and players did not form any deep plan. In addition to his theoretical achievements,
Steinitz founded an important tradition: his triumph over the leading German master Johannes
Zukertort in 1886 is regarded as the first official World Chess Championship. Steinitz
lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger player, the German mathematician Emanuel Lasker, who
maintained this title for 27 years, the longest tenure of any world champion. After the end of the 19th century, the number
of master tournaments and matches held annually quickly grew. Some sources state that in 1914
the title of chess Grandmaster was first formally conferred by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to
Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch, and Marshall, but this is a disputed claim. The
tradition of awarding such titles was continued by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), founded
in 1924 in Paris. In 1927, the Women’s World Chess Championship was established; the first
to hold the title was Czech-English master Vera Menchik.It took a prodigy from Cuba,
José Raúl Capablanca (World Champion 1921–1927), who loved simple positions and endgames, to
end the German-speaking dominance in chess; he was undefeated in tournament play for eight
years, until 1924. His successor was Russian-French Alexander Alekhine, a strong attacking player
who died as the world champion in 1946. He briefly lost the title to Dutch player Max
Euwe in 1935 and regained it two years later.Between the world wars, chess was revolutionized by
the new theoretical school of so-called hypermodernists like Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Réti. They
advocated controlling the center of the board with distant pieces rather than with pawns,
thus inviting opponents to occupy the center with pawns, which become objects of attack.===1945–present: Post-World War II era
===After the death of Alekhine, a new World Champion
was sought. FIDE, which has controlled the title since then (except for one interruption),
ran a tournament of elite players. The winner of the 1948 tournament, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik,
started an era of Soviet dominance in the chess world. Until the end of the Soviet Union,
there was only one non-Soviet champion, American Bobby Fischer (champion 1972–1975). Botvinnik
revolutionized opening theory. Previously Black strove for equality, to neutralize White’s
first-move advantage. As Black, Botvinnik strove for the initiative from the beginning.
In the previous informal system of World Championships, the current champion decided which challenger
he would play for the title and the challenger was forced to seek sponsors for the match.
FIDE set up a new system of qualifying tournaments and matches. The world’s strongest players
were seeded into Interzonal tournaments, where they were joined by players who had qualified
from Zonal tournaments. The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go on the “Candidates”
stage, which was initially a tournament, and later a series of knockout matches. The winner
of the Candidates would then play the reigning champion for the title. A champion defeated
in a match had a right to play a rematch a year later. This system operated on a three-year
cycle. Botvinnik participated in championship matches over a period of fifteen years. He
won the world championship tournament in 1948 and retained the title in tied matches in
1951 and 1954. In 1957, he lost to Vasily Smyslov, but regained the title in a rematch
in 1958. In 1960, he lost the title to the 23-year-old Latvian prodigy Mikhail Tal, an
accomplished tactician and attacking player. Botvinnik again regained the title in a rematch
in 1961. Following the 1961 event, FIDE abolished the
automatic right of a deposed champion to a rematch, and the next champion, Armenian Tigran
Petrosian, a player renowned for his defensive and positional skills, held the title for
two cycles, 1963–1969. His successor, Boris Spassky from Russia (champion 1969–1972),
won games in both positional and sharp tactical style. The next championship, the so-called
Match of the Century, saw the first non-Soviet challenger since World War II, American Bobby
Fischer, who defeated his Candidates opponents by unheard-of margins and clearly won the
world championship match. In 1975, however, Fischer refused to defend his title against
Soviet Anatoly Karpov when FIDE did not meet his demands, and Karpov obtained the title
by default. Fischer modernized many aspects of chess, especially by extensively preparing
openings.Karpov defended his title twice against Viktor Korchnoi and dominated the 1970s and
early 1980s with a string of tournament successes. Karpov’s reign finally ended in 1985 at the
hands of Garry Kasparov, another Soviet player from Baku, Azerbaijan. Kasparov and Karpov
contested five world title matches between 1984 and 1990; Karpov never won his title
back. In 1993, Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short broke with FIDE to organize their own match
for the title and formed a competing Professional Chess Association (PCA). From then until 2006,
there were two simultaneous World Champions and World Championships: the PCA or Classical
champion extending the Steinitzian tradition in which the current champion plays a challenger
in a series of many games, and the other following FIDE’s new format of many players competing
in a tournament to determine the champion. Kasparov lost his Classical title in 2000
to Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. The World Chess Championship 2006, in which Kramnik beat the
FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov, reunified the titles and made Kramnik the undisputed
World Chess Champion. In September 2007, he lost the title to Viswanathan Anand of India,
who won the championship tournament in Mexico City. Anand defended his title in the revenge
match of 2008, 2010 and 2012. In 2013, Magnus Carlsen beat Anand in the 2013 World Chess
Championship. He defended his title the following year, again against Anand. Carlsen confirmed
his title in 2016 against the Russian Sergey Karjakin and in 2018 against the American
Fabiano Caruana, in both occasions by a rapid tiebreaker match after equality in 12 games
of classical time control, and is the reigning world champion.==Place in culture=====
Pre-modern===In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance,
chess was a part of noble culture; it was used to teach war strategy and was dubbed
the “King’s Game”. Gentlemen are “to be meanly seene in the play at Chestes”, says the overview
at the beginning of Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (1528, English 1561
by Sir Thomas Hoby), but chess should not be a gentleman’s main passion. Castiglione
explains it further: And what say you to the game at chestes? It
is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think
it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning at it, for who ever will be
excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie
it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any
other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth
no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely,
that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.
Many of the elaborate chess sets used by the aristocracy have been lost, but others partially
survive, such as the Lewis chessmen. Chess was often used as a basis of sermons
on morality. An example is Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludo
scacchorum (‘Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess’),
written by an Italian Dominican monk Jacobus de Cessolis c. 1300. This book was one of
the most popular of the Middle Ages. The work was translated into many other languages (the
first printed edition was published at Utrecht in 1473) and was the basis for William Caxton’s
The Game and Playe of the Chesse (1474), one of the first books printed in English. Different
chess pieces were used as metaphors for different classes of people, and human duties were derived
from the rules of the game or from visual properties of the chess pieces:
The knyght ought to be made alle armed upon an hors in suche wyse that he haue an helme
on his heed and a spere in his ryght hande/ and coueryd wyth his sheld/ a swerde and a
mace on his lyft syde/ Cladd wyth an hawberk and plates to fore his breste/ legge harnoys
on his legges/ Spores on his heelis on his handes his gauntelettes/ his hors well broken
and taught and apte to bataylle and couerid with his armes/ whan the knyghtes ben maad
they ben bayned or bathed/ that is the signe that they shold lede a newe lyf and newe maners/
also they wake alle the nyght in prayers and orysons vnto god that he wylle gyue hem grace
that they may gete that thynge that they may not gete by nature/ The kynge or prynce gyrdeth
a boute them a swerde in signe/ that they shold abyde and kepe hym of whom they take
theyr dispenses and dignyte. Known in the circles of clerics, students,
and merchants, chess entered into the popular culture of Middle Ages. An example is the
209th song of Carmina Burana from the 13th century, which starts with the names of chess
pieces, Roch, pedites, regina…===
Modern===During the Age of Enlightenment, chess was
viewed as a means of self-improvement. Benjamin Franklin, in his article “The Morals of Chess”
(1750), wrote: The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement;
several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to
be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for
life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries
to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are,
in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then,
we may learn: I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity,
and considers the consequences that may attend an action […]
II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: – the relation
of the several Pieces, and their situations […]
III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily […] With these or similar views, chess is taught
to children in schools around the world today. Many schools host chess clubs, and there are
many scholastic tournaments specifically for children. Tournaments are held regularly in
many countries, hosted by organizations such as the United States Chess Federation and
the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. Chess is often depicted in the arts; significant
works where chess plays a key role range from Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess to Through
the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, to Vladimir Nabokov’s The Defense, to The Royal Game by
Stefan Zweig. Chess is featured in films like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Satyajit
Ray’s The Chess Players. Chess is also present in contemporary popular
culture. For example, the characters in Star Trek play a futuristic version of the game
called “Tri-Dimensional Chess”. “Wizard’s Chess” is featured in J.K. Rowling’s Harry
Potter plays. The hero of Searching for Bobby Fischer struggles against adopting the aggressive
and misanthropic views of a world chess champion. Chess is used as the core theme in the musical
Chess by Tim Rice, Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson. The thriller film Knight Moves
is about a chess grandmaster who is accused of being a serial killer. Pawn Sacrifice,
starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky, depicts the
drama surrounding the 1972 World Chess Championship in Iceland during the Cold War.==Prohibition in Islam==
In 1979 in Islamic Republic of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious
fatwa ruling against chess on the grounds that it “excessively fatigues the brain” and
constitutes gambling. The same Ayatollah lifted the ban in 1988, however, and said it was
permissible as long as it was not a means of gambling. Iran now has an active confederation
for playing chess and sends players to international events.Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani of Iraq,
issued multiple fatwas against chess and backgammon ruling that playing both “is absolutely
forbidden even without placing a bet”.In 2016 in Saudi Arabia, Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz
ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh issued a religious fatwa ruling that chess is forbidden in Islam
because it constitutes gambling, stating “chess is a waste of time and an opportunity to squander
money. It causes enmity and hatred between people.” This fatwa is not legally binding,
however, and chess remains a popular game in Muslim countries.==Notation for recording moves==Chess games and positions are recorded using
a system of notation, most commonly algebraic chess notation. Abbreviated algebraic (or
short algebraic) notation generally records moves in the format: abbreviation of the piece moved – file where
it moved – rank where it movedThe pieces are identified by their initials. In English,
these are K (king), Q (queen), R (rook), B (bishop), and N (knight; N is used to avoid
confusion with king). For example, Qg5 means “queen moves to the g-file, 5th rank” (that
is, to the square g5). Chess literature published in other languages may use different initials
for pieces, or figurine algebraic notation (FAN) may be used to avoid language issues.
To resolve ambiguities, an additional letter or number is added to indicate the file or
rank from which the piece moved (e.g. Ngf3 means “knight from the g-file moves to the
square f3”; R1e2 means “rook on the first rank moves to e2”). The letter P for pawn
is not used; so e4 means “pawn moves to the square e4”.
If the piece makes a capture, “x” is inserted before the destination square. Thus Bxf3 means
“bishop captures on f3”. When a pawn makes a capture, the file from which the pawn departed
is used in place of a piece initial, and ranks may be omitted if unambiguous. For example,
exd5 (pawn on the e-file captures the piece on d5) or exd (pawn on the e-file captures
a piece somewhere on the d-file). Particularly in Germany, some publications use “:” rather
than “x” to indicate capture, but this is now rare. Some publications omit the capture
symbol altogether; so exd5 would be rendered simply as ed.
If a pawn moves to its last rank, achieving promotion, the piece chosen is indicated after
the move (for example, e1Q or e1=Q). Castling is indicated by the special notations 0-0
for kingside castling and 0-0-0 for queenside castling. An en passant capture is sometimes
marked with the notation “e.p.” A move that places the opponent’s king in check usually
has the notation “+” added (the notation “++” for a double check is considered obsolete).
Checkmate can be indicated by “#”. At the end of the game, “1–0” means White won,
“0–1” means Black won, and “½–½” indicates a draw.Chess moves can be annotated with punctuation
marks and other symbols. (For example: “!” indicates a good move; “!!” an excellent move; “?” a
mistake; “??” a blunder; “!?” an interesting move that may not be best; or “?!” a dubious
move not easily refuted.) For example, one variation of a simple trap
known as the Scholar’s mate (see animated diagram) can be recorded: 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5?! Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6?? 4. Qxf7#
1–0The text-based Portable Game Notation (PGN), which is understood by chess software,
is based on short form English language algebraic notation.
Until about 1980, the majority of English language chess publications used a form of
descriptive notation. In descriptive notation, files are named according to the piece which
occupies the back rank at the start of the game, and each square has two different names
depending on whether it is from White’s or Black’s point of view. For example, the square
known as “e3” in algebraic notation is “K3” (King’s 3rd) from White’s point of view, and
“K6” (King’s 6th) from Black’s point of view. When recording captures, the captured piece
is named rather than the square on which it is captured (except to resolve ambiguities).
Thus, Scholar’s mate is rendered in descriptive notation: 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. Q-R5?! N-QB3 3. B-B4 N-B3??
4. QxBP# 1–0A few players still prefer descriptive notation, but it is no longer recognized by
FIDE. Another system is ICCF numeric notation, recognized
by the International Correspondence Chess Federation though its use is in decline. Squares
are identified by numeric coordinates, for example a1 is “11” and h8 is “88”. Moves are
described by the “from” and “to” squares, e.g. the opening move 1.e4 is rendered as
1.5254. Captures are not indicated. Castling is described by the king’s move only; e.g.
5171 for White castling kingside, 5838 for Black castling queenside.==Stages=====Opening===A chess opening is the group of initial moves
of a game (the “opening moves”). Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to
as openings and have been given names such as the Ruy Lopez or Sicilian Defense. They
are catalogued in reference works such as the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. There
are dozens of different openings, varying widely in character from quiet positional
play (for example, the Réti Opening) to very aggressive (the Latvian Gambit). In some opening
lines, the exact sequence considered best for both sides has been worked out to more
than 30 moves. Professional players spend years studying openings and continue doing
so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve.
The fundamental strategic aims of most openings are similar:
development: This is the technique of placing the pieces (particularly bishops and knights)
on useful squares where they will have an optimal impact on the game.
control of the center: Control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part
of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent.
king safety: It is critical to keep the king safe from dangerous possibilities. A correctly
timed castling can often enhance this. pawn structure: Players strive to avoid the
creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns, and pawn islands
– and to force such weaknesses in the opponent’s position.Most players and theoreticians consider
that White, by virtue of the first move, begins the game with a small advantage. This initially
gives White the initiative. Black usually strives to neutralize White’s advantage and
achieve equality, or to develop dynamic counterplay in an unbalanced position.===Middlegame===The middlegame is the part of the game which
starts after the opening. There is no clear line between the opening and the middlegame,
but typically the middlegame will start when most pieces have been developed. (Similarly,
there is no clear transition from the middlegame to the endgame; see start of the endgame.)
Because the opening theory has ended, players have to form plans based on the features of
the position, and at the same time take into account the tactical possibilities of the
position. The middlegame is the phase in which most combinations occur. Combinations are
a series of tactical moves executed to achieve some gain. Middlegame combinations are often
connected with an attack against the opponent’s king. Some typical patterns have their own
names; for example, the Boden’s Mate or the Lasker–Bauer combination.Specific plans
or strategic themes will often arise from particular groups of openings which result
in a specific type of pawn structure. An example is the minority attack, which is the attack
of queenside pawns against an opponent who has more pawns on the queenside. The study
of openings is therefore connected to the preparation of plans that are typical of the
resulting middlegames.Another important strategic question in the middlegame is whether and
how to reduce material and transition into an endgame (i.e. simplify). Minor material
advantages can generally be transformed into victory only in an endgame, and therefore
the stronger side must choose an appropriate way to achieve an ending. Not every reduction
of material is good for this purpose; for example, if one side keeps a light-squared
bishop and the opponent has a dark-squared one, the transformation into a bishops and
pawns ending is usually advantageous for the weaker side only, because an endgame with
bishops on opposite colors is likely to be a draw, even with an advantage of a pawn,
or sometimes even with a two-pawn advantage.===Endgame===The endgame (also end game or ending) is the
stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. There are three main strategic
differences between earlier stages of the game and the endgame:
Pawns become more important. Endgames often revolve around endeavors to promote a pawn
by advancing it to the furthest rank. The king, which requires safeguarding from
attack during the middlegame, emerges as a strong piece in the endgame. It is often brought
to the center where it can protect its own pawns, attack enemy pawns, and hinder moves
of the opponent’s king. Zugzwang, a situation in which the player
who is to move is forced to incur a disadvantage, is often a factor in endgames but rarely in
other stages of the game. In the example diagram, either side having the move is in zugzwang:
Black to move must play 1…Kb7 allowing White to promote the pawn after 2.Kd7; White to
move must permit a draw, either by 1.Kc6 stalemate or by losing the pawn after any other legal
move.Endgames can be classified according to the type of pieces remaining on the board.
Basic checkmates are positions in which one side has only a king and the other side has
one or two pieces and can checkmate the opposing king, with the pieces working together with
their king. For example, king and pawn endgames involve only kings and pawns on one or both
sides, and the task of the stronger side is to promote one of the pawns. Other more complicated
endings are classified according to pieces on the board other than kings, such as “rook
and pawn versus rook” endgames.==Strategy and tactics==
Chess strategy consists of setting and achieving long-term positioning advantages during the
game – for example, where to place different pieces – while tactics concentrate on immediate
maneuver. These two aspects of the gameplay cannot be completely separated, because strategic
goals are mostly achieved through tactics, while the tactical opportunities are based
on the previous strategy of play. A game of chess is normally divided into three phases:
the opening, typically the first 10 moves, when players move their pieces to useful positions
for the coming battle; the middlegame; and last the endgame, when most of the pieces
are gone, kings typically take a more active part in the struggle, and pawn promotion is
often decisive.===Fundamentals of tactics===In chess, tactics in general concentrate on
short-term actions – so short-term that they can be calculated in advance by a human
player or by a computer. The possible depth of calculation depends on the player’s ability.
In quiet positions with many possibilities on both sides, a deep calculation is more
difficult and may not be practical, while in “tactical” positions with a limited number
of forced variations, strong players can calculate long sequences of moves.
Simple one-move or two-move tactical actions – threats, exchanges of material, and double
attacks – can be combined into more complicated combinations, sequences of tactical maneuvers
that are often forced from the point of view of one or both players. Theoreticians describe
many elementary tactical methods and typical maneuvers; for example, pins, forks, skewers,
batteries, discovered attacks (especially discovered checks), zwischenzugs, deflections,
decoys, sacrifices, underminings, overloadings, and interferences.A forced variation that
involves a sacrifice and usually results in a tangible gain is called a combination. Brilliant
combinations – such as those in the Immortal Game – are considered beautiful and are
admired by chess lovers. A common type of chess exercise, aimed at developing players’
skills, is a position where a decisive combination is available and challenging them to find
it.===Fundamentals of strategy===Chess strategy is concerned with evaluation
of chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for the future play. During
the evaluation, players must take into account numerous factors such as the value of the
pieces on the board, control of the center and centralization, the pawn structure, king
safety, and the control of key squares or groups of squares (for example, diagonals,
open files, and dark or light squares). The most basic step in evaluating a position
is to count the total value of pieces of both sides. The point values used for this purpose
are based on experience; usually pawns are considered worth one point, knights and bishops
about three points each, rooks about five points (the value difference between a rook
and a bishop or knight being known as the exchange), and queens about nine points. The
king is more valuable than all of the other pieces combined, since its checkmate loses
the game. But in practical terms, in the endgame the king as a fighting piece is generally
more powerful than a bishop or knight but less powerful than a rook. These basic values
are then modified by other factors like position of the piece (e.g. advanced pawns are usually
more valuable than those on their initial squares), coordination between pieces (e.g.
a pair of bishops usually coordinate better than a bishop and a knight), or the type of
position (e.g. knights are generally better in closed positions with many pawns while
bishops are more powerful in open positions). Another important factor in the evaluation
of chess positions is the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton): the configuration
of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the pieces, the pawn structure
is relatively static and largely determines the strategic nature of the position. Weaknesses
in the pawn structure, such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns and holes, once created,
are often permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid these weaknesses unless they
are compensated by another valuable asset (for example, by the possibility of developing
an attack).==Competitive play=====Organization of competitions===
Contemporary chess is an organized sport with structured international and national leagues,
tournaments, and congresses. Chess’s international governing body is FIDE (Fédération Internationale
des Échecs). Most countries have a national chess organization as well (such as the US
Chess Federation and English Chess Federation) which in turn is a member of FIDE. FIDE is
a member of the International Olympic Committee, but the game of chess has never been part
of the Olympic Games; chess does have its own Olympiad, held every two years as a team
event. The current World Chess Champion is Magnus
Carlsen of Norway. The reigning Women’s World Champion is Hou Yifan from China. The world’s
highest rated female player, Judit Polgár, has never participated in the Women’s World
Chess Championship, instead preferring to compete with the leading men and maintaining
a ranking among the top male players.Other competitions for individuals include the World
Junior Chess Championship, the European Individual Chess Championship, and the National Chess
Championships. Invitation-only tournaments regularly attract the world’s strongest players.
Examples include Spain’s Linares event, Monte Carlo’s Melody Amber tournament, the Dortmund
Sparkassen meeting, Sofia’s M-tel Masters, and Wijk aan Zee’s Tata Steel tournament.
Regular team chess events include the Chess Olympiad and the European Team Chess Championship.
The World Chess Solving Championship and World Correspondence Chess Championships include
both team and individual events. Besides these prestigious competitions, there
are thousands of other chess tournaments, matches, and festivals held around the world
every year catering to players of all levels. Chess is promoted as a “mind sport” by the
Mind Sports Organisation, alongside other mental-skill games such as contract bridge,
Go, and Scrabble.===Titles and rankings===The best players can be awarded specific lifetime
titles by the world chess organization FIDE: Grandmaster (shortened as GM; sometimes International
Grandmaster or IGM is used) is awarded to world-class chess masters. Apart from World
Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. Before FIDE will
confer the title on a player, the player must have an Elo chess rating (see below) of at
least 2500 at one time and three favorable results (called norms) in tournaments involving
other grandmasters, including some from countries other than the applicant’s. There are other
milestones a player can achieve to attain the title, such as winning the World Junior
Championship. International Master (shortened as IM). The
conditions are similar to GM, but less demanding. The minimum rating for the IM title is 2400.
FIDE Master (shortened as FM). The usual way for a player to qualify for the FIDE Master
title is by achieving a FIDE rating of 2300 or more.
Candidate Master (shortened as CM). Similar to FM, but with a FIDE rating of at least
2200.All the titles are open to men and women. Separate women-only titles, such as Woman
Grandmaster (WGM), are available. Beginning with Nona Gaprindashvili in 1978, a number
of women have earned the GM title, and most of the top ten women in 2006 hold the unrestricted
GM title.As of 2018, there are 1725 active grandmasters and 3903 international masters
in the world. The top three countries with the largest numbers of grandmasters are Russia,
the United States, and Germany, with 251, 98, and 96, respectively.International titles
are awarded to composers and solvers of chess problems and to correspondence chess players
(by the International Correspondence Chess Federation). National chess organizations
may also award titles, usually to the advanced players still under the level needed for international
titles; an example is the chess expert title used in the United States.
In order to rank players, FIDE, ICCF, and national chess organizations use the Elo rating
system developed by Arpad Elo. Elo is a statistical system based on the assumption that the chess
performance of each player in his or her games is a random variable. Arpad Elo thought of
a player’s true skill as the average of that player’s performance random variable, and
showed how to estimate the average from results of player’s games. The US Chess Federation
implemented Elo’s suggestions in 1960, and the system quickly gained recognition as being
both fairer and more accurate than older systems; it was adopted by FIDE in 1970. A beginner
or casual player typically has an Elo rating of less than 1000; an ordinary club player
has a rating of about 1500, a strong club player about 2000, a grandmaster usually has
a rating of over 2500, and an elite player has a rating of over 2700. The highest FIDE
rating of all time, 2881, was achieved by Magnus Carlsen on the March 2014 FIDE rating
list.==Composition==Chess composition is the art of creating chess
problems (also called chess compositions). The creator is known as a chess composer.
There are many types of chess problems; the two most important are: Directmates: White to move first and checkmate
Black within a specified number of moves, against any defense. These are often referred
to as “mate in n” – for example “mate in three” (a three-mover); two- and three-move
problems are the most common. These usually involve positions that would be highly unlikely
to occur in an actual game, and are intended to illustrate a particular theme, usually
requiring a surprising or counter-intuitive key move.
Studies: orthodox problems where the stipulation is that White to play must win or draw. Almost
all studies are endgame positions.Chess composition is a distinct branch of chess sport, and tournaments
exist for both the composition and solving of chess problems.===Example===This is one of the most famous chess studies;
it was published by Richard Réti 4 December 1921. It seems impossible to catch the advanced
black pawn, while the black king can easily stop the white pawn. The solution is a diagonal
advance, which brings the king to both pawns simultaneously: 1. Kg7! h4 2. Kf6! Kb6Or 2…h3 3.Ke7 and
the white king can support its pawn. 3. Ke5!!Now the white king comes just in time
to support his pawn, or catch the black one. 3… h3If 3…Kxc6, 4.Kf4 and White will capture
the pawn. 4. Kd6 ½–½Both sides will queen, resulting
in a draw.==Publications==Chess has a very extensive literature. In
1913, the chess historian H.J.R. Murray estimated the total number of books, magazines, and
chess columns in newspapers to be about 5,000. B.H. Wood estimated the number, as of 1949,
to be about 20,000. David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld write that, “Since then there has been
a steady increase year by year of the number of new chess publications. No one knows how
many have been printed.” There are two significant public chess libraries: the John G. White
Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library, with over 32,000 chess books
and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals; and the Chess & Draughts collection at the
National Library of the Netherlands, with about 30,000 books. GM Lothar Schmid owned
the world’s largest private collection of chess books and memorabilia. David DeLucia’s
chess library contains 7,000 to 8,000 chess books, a similar number of autographs (letters,
score sheets, manuscripts), and about 1,000 items of “ephemera”. Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam
opines that DeLucia’s collection “is arguably the finest chess collection in the world”.==Mathematics and computers==The game structure and nature of chess are
related to several branches of mathematics. Many combinatorical and topological problems
connected to chess have been known for hundreds of years.===Combinatorics of chess and chess puzzles
===The number of legal positions in chess is
estimated to be about 1043, and has been proved to be fewer than 1047, with a game-tree complexity
of approximately 10123. The game-tree complexity of chess was first calculated by Claude Shannon
as 10120, a number known as the Shannon number. An average position typically has thirty to
forty possible moves, but there may be as few as zero (in the case of checkmate or stalemate)
or (in a constructed position) as many as 218.Chess has inspired many combinatorial
puzzles, such as the knight’s tour and the eight queens puzzle.===Computer chess===
The idea of creating a chess-playing machine dates to the 18th century; around 1769, the
chess-playing automaton called The Turk became famous before being exposed as a hoax. Serious
trials based on automata, such as El Ajedrecista, were too complex and limited to be useful.
Since the advent of the digital computer in the 1950s, chess enthusiasts, computer engineers
and computer scientists have built, with increasing degrees of seriousness and success, chess-playing
machines and computer programs. The groundbreaking paper on computer chess, “Programming a Computer
for Playing Chess”, was published in 1950 by Shannon. He wrote: The chess machine is an ideal one to start
with, since: (1) the problem is sharply defined both in allowed operations (the moves) and
in the ultimate goal (checkmate); (2) it is neither so simple as to be trivial nor too
difficult for satisfactory solution; (3) chess is generally considered to require “thinking”
for skillful play; a solution of this problem will force us either to admit the possibility
of a mechanized thinking or to further restrict our concept of “thinking”; (4) the discrete
structure of chess fits well into the digital nature of
modern computers. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
held the first major chess tournament for computers, the North American Computer Chess
Championship, in September 1970. CHESS 3.0, a chess program from Northwestern University,
won the championship. Nowadays, chess programs compete in the World Computer Chess Championship,
held annually since 1974. At first considered only a curiosity, the best chess playing programs
have become extremely strong. In 1997, a computer won a chess match using classical time controls
against a reigning World Champion for the first time: IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov
3½–2½ (it scored two wins, one loss, and three draws). However, the match was controversial,
and computers would only win such a match again in 2006.
In 2009, a mobile phone won a category 6 tournament with a performance rating 2898: chess engine
Hiarcs 13 running on the mobile phone HTC Touch HD won the Copa Mercosur tournament
with nine wins and one draw. The best chess programs are now able to consistently beat
the strongest human players, to the extent that human–computer matches no longer attract
interest from chess players or media. With huge databases of past games and high
analytical ability, computers can help players to learn chess and prepare for matches. Internet
Chess Servers allow people to find and play opponents worldwide. The presence of computers
and modern communication tools have raised concerns regarding cheating during games,
most notably the “bathroom controversy” during the 2006 World Championship.===Relation to game theory===
In 1913, Ernst Zermelo used chess as a basis for his theory of game strategies, which is
considered as one of the predecessors of game theory. Zermelo’s theorem states that it is
possible to solve chess, i.e. to determine with certainty the outcome of a perfectly
played game (either White can force a win, or Black can force a win, or both sides can
force at least a draw). According to Claude Shannon, however, there are 1043 legal positions
in chess, so it will take an impossibly long time to compute a perfect strategy with any
feasible technology. The 11-category, game theoretical taxonomy
of chess includes: two player, no-chance, combinatorial, Markov state (present state
is all a player needs to move; although past state led up to that point, knowledge of the
sequence of past moves is not required to make the next move, except to take into account
of en passant and castling, which do depend on the past moves), zero sum, symmetric, perfect
information, non-cooperative, discrete, extensive form (tree decisions, not payoff matrices),
and sequential.===Computational complexity===
Generalized chess (played on n×n board, without the fifty-move rule) is EXPTIME-complete.===Combinatorial game theory===
Some applications of combinatorial game theory to chess endgames were found by Elkies (1996).==Psychology==There is an extensive scientific literature
on chess psychology. Alfred Binet and others showed that knowledge and verbal, rather than
visuospatial, ability lies at the core of expertise. In his doctoral thesis, Adriaan
de Groot showed that chess masters can rapidly perceive the key features of a position. According
to de Groot, this perception, made possible by years of practice and study, is more important
than the sheer ability to anticipate moves. De Groot showed that chess masters can memorize
positions shown for a few seconds almost perfectly. The ability to memorize does not alone account
for chess-playing skill, since masters and novices, when faced with random arrangements
of chess pieces, had equivalent recall (about six positions in each case). Rather, it is
the ability to recognize patterns, which are then memorized, which distinguished the skilled
players from the novices. When the positions of the pieces were taken from an actual game,
the masters had almost total positional recall.More recent research has focused on chess as mental
training; the respective roles of knowledge and look-ahead search; brain imaging studies
of chess masters and novices; blindfold chess; the role of personality and intelligence in
chess skill; gender differences; and computational models of chess expertise. The role of practice
and talent in the development of chess and other domains of expertise has led to much
recent research. Ericsson and colleagues have argued that deliberate practice is sufficient
for reaching high levels of expertise in chess. Recent research indicates that factors other
than practice are also important. For example, Fernand Gobet and colleagues have shown that
stronger players started playing chess at a young age and that experts born in the Northern
Hemisphere are more likely to have been born in late winter and early spring. Compared
to general population, chess players are more likely to be non-right-handed, though they
found no correlation between handedness and skill.===Chess and intelligence===
A relationship between chess skill and intelligence has long been discussed in the literature
and popular culture. Academic studies of the relationship date back at least to 1927. Academic
opinion has long been split on how strong the relationship is, with some studies finding
no relationship and others finding a relatively strong one. A 2016 meta-analysis and review
based on 19 studies and a total sample size of 1,779 found that various aspects of general
intelligence correlate with chess skill, with average correlations ranging from 0.13 (visuospatial
ability) to 0.35 (numerical ability). The review did not find strong evidence of publication
bias biasing these estimates. Moderator analyses indicated that the relationship was stronger
in unranked players (r=0.32) vs. ranked players (r=0.14), as well as stronger in
children (r=0.32) than adults (r=0.11).==Variants==There are more than two thousand published
chess variants, most of them of relatively recent origin, including: Direct predecessors of chess such as chaturanga
and shatranj. Traditional national or regional games that
share common ancestors with Western chess such as xiangqi, shogi, janggi, makruk, and
sittuyin. Modern variations employing different rules
(e.g. Losing chess), different forces (e.g. Dunsany’s Chess), non-standard pieces (e.g.
Grand Chess), or different board geometries (e.g. hexagonal chess). One rules variant
that has gained significantly in popularity is Chess960 (named “Fischerandom” by its inventor).
In Chess960, the starting position is selected randomly from 960 unique possibilities, including
the classic chess initial position without change, while the other 959 render the use
of prepared opening lines impracticable. In 2008, FIDE added Chess960 to its Handbook.
Infinite chess, which has drawn the attention of mathematicians.Prime sources in English
describing chess variants and their rules include David Pritchard’s encyclopedias, the
website The Chess Variant Pages created by Hans Bodlaender with various contributors,
and the magazine Variant Chess published from 1990 (George Jellis) to 2010 (the British
Chess Variants Society). In the context of chess variants, regular
(i.e. FIDE) chess is commonly referred to as Western chess, international chess, orthodox
chess, orthochess, and classic chess.==See also==Reference aids Outline of chess (subject-wide table of contents)
Glossary of chess Index of chess articlesLists List of chess books
List of chess games List of chess players
List of chess world championship matches List of strong chess tournaments==Notes

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